Sprawling resort on Grand Bahama's best piece of real estate
A tile map of the Lucayan Harbor
Grand Lucayan dates back to the 1960s and is in one of the most prominent tourist and cruise ship destinations in the Bahamas -- along Lucayan Beach and across the street from the busy Port Lucaya Marketplace and the Marina, which is home to lots of cruises, fishing charters, and the UNESCO dive and dolphin encounter center.
Grand Lucayan, along with its neighboring sister hotel Reef Village, forms a 748-room resort complex -- though the Reef Village is closed unti late 2013. The Grand Lucayan is divided among the large, Art Deco-style Breakers Cay building, the Lanai Suites, and the quiet all-suite Lighthouse Pointe complex. (The property has been rebranded a number of times and ended its affiliation with Radisson in the fall of 2012 to become independent.) With such a wide range of lodging options, couples, families with small children, conventioneers, and wedding parties can all find their niche here.
It can take 20 minutes to walk from the Reef Club on one end of the property all the way down to Lighthouse Pointe. It's a fairly pleasant walk along the landscaped, palm-shadded, and flower-lined network of paths between the buildings, though a bit of a schlep to get, say, from a room in the Breakers Cay building to the gym at Lighthouse Pointe, or from Lighthouse Pointe to Breakers Cay for the breakfast buffet at the Willy Broadleaf restaurant. If you're hauling a stroller or have mobility challenges, all the back-and-forth can be a problem.
Grand Lucayan is somewhat chaotic during the day, especially when the cruisers take to the beach. On the other hand, many guests complain about the lack of on-site evening entertainment. Most of the action is at the nearby casino and the bars within Port Lucaya Marketplace, across the street from the resort.
Competent and comprehensive, but in such a large resort it's not particularly doting
While service at Grand Lucayan doesn't match the level of attentiveness experienced at smaller resorts like The One & Only Ocean Club, staff is universally friendly, helpful and professional. Given the size of the resort complex, expectations should be adjusted accordingly.
Concierge available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to help book excursions and make other special arrangements.
Grand Lucayan is located in the liveliest part of Grand Bahama, Port Lucaya. Given the size and scale of the Grand Lucayan complex, and adding in the thousands of cruise ship passengers roaming the Isle of Capri Casino on the grounds, strolling the fairly bustling Port Lucaya Marketplace across the street, or setting off for a booze cruise or a dolphin encounter from the man-made marina and you have one of the most crowded tourist havens in the Caribbean.
Across the street from Port Lucaya Marketplace -- a clean, lively, touristy, outdoor strip mall, replete with jewelry stores, ice cream shops, hair-braiding stands, and countless T-shirt stalls
By night, even locals show up to its decent bars and restaurants at the Marketplace
Towels available from huts by the pool; require a towel card issued by the front desk.
All water-sports cost extra and can be rented from vendors (not affiliated with the hotel) on the beach. Snorkeling gear ($10 and up), Jet Skis (about $35 an hour), kayaks, banana boats, parasailing, and more.
The hotel's rooms are spacious, clean, and bright, but vary greatly in style depending on which building you're booked into. The largest building, 540-room Breakers Cay, is the most centrally located and has the resort's nicest rooms, including the two-bedroom Prime Minister's suite on the top (10th) floor, replete with a stunning wraparound terrace and private office. The more remote Lightouse Pointe and Lanai Suites are quieter and more spacious -- better suited toward honeymooners, or families looking for extra space -- but their décor is surprisingly sparse.
Standard guest rooms in Breakers Cay are a comfortable 400 square feet.
Views from the standard room types range from the ocean to Port Lucaya's marina. Marina-view rooms can be a bit noisy duing the day.
Old, 27-inch Phillips tube TVs; cable includes HBO, Cinemax, and pay-per-view movies.
Rooms come with a free plug-in Internet connection; occassionally, you can pick up a free Wi-Fi signal from the marina.
Small, dark bathrooms in the standard room types; despite the two-head showers, frequent problems include low water pressure, water that doesn't get hot, shower ceilings covered in mildew and mold, and tubs that don't drain properly.
Superb gym, an extensive tennis facility, and a popular casino -- more than most other resorts in the area
Spinning bikes at the fitness Center
Tournement-quality tennis courts that include all four "grand slam" surfaces (clay, grass, and two variations of hard courts) (fees range from $25 for the hard courts to $100 for grass, plus $25 if you need lights; racket rentals cost $10).
Senses Spa, located at the far end of the property in the Lighthouse Pointe building (about a 10-minute walk from Breaker's Cay), underwent a complete renovation in 2011. It offers a wide range of treatments. A hair and nail salon is located on the first floor and the dimly lit spa treatment rooms are on the 2nd floor.
The gym, also located at the in Lighthouse Pointe, was included in the 2011 renovations to the spa. It features new cardio machines (treadmills, bikes, ellipticals and stairmasters), weight machines, a fitness classroom (with free aerobics and weights classes) and even a spinning studio (open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.).
Weddings are particularly popular at the resort, both with local and international brides. The resort provides musical entertainment options and both indoor and outdoor reception venues. These, along with a convention center that can host up to 1,000 people in its main ballroom, are also popular for meetings and corporate events.
Narrow lap pool and a large, serene infinity pool are located near the Lanai Suites. Waves bar is adjacent to the infinity pool, but is closed in the low season.
The family pool, in front of the Reef Village (closed until late 2013), includes a two-story waterslide.
Two par-72 golf courses are a five-minute shuttle ride away at the Lucayan Golf Club.
The 18-hole Lucayan Course, designed by Dick Wilson, opened in 1962 and has played host to the Bahama National Open tournament. The 18-hole, links-style Reef Course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and has hosted PGA Senior Tour events.
Grand Lucayan is the most family-friendly resort complex on Grand Bahama. It offers myriad activities, a convenient location, a great beach, four pools, and tons of dining options both on-site and across the street at the Lucaya Marketplace (where you can find cheap, familiar eats like Quiznos and Domino's).
Connecting rooms available (but one room must be a suite)
Cribs are free in Breakers Cay and Reef Village; rollaway beds are available for a fee.
Camp Lucaya Kids' Club provides daily activities like arts and crafts, supervised swimming, and beach Olympics for kids ages three to 12.
Dining options abound, but the better food is outside the resort, across the street at Lucaya Marketplace or on the beach. Don't miss Billy Joe's!
Billy Joe's Restaurant, right on the beach
In the high season Grand Lucayan operates a buffet restaurant, an Asian restaurant, a fine dining Mediterranean restaurant, an upscale Caribbean restaurant, and an outdoor grill. There is also a pool bar, a cigar bar, and a cafe with pastries and sandwiches.
The breakfast buffet includes an omelet station, Southern grits, and a wide variety of cereals and yogurt.
Upscale Caribbean restaurant, Irie's, is around the corner from Breakers Cay and across from the casino. Dishes include conch and crab fritters, and jerked lobster, but they tend to be overpriced for the quality.
China Beach and China Grill offer a sushi bar and an a pretty standard Chinese buffet.
Billy Joe's, a conch shack on the beach just past the Reef Village, is not affiliated with the resort but offers succulent fresh seafood (specializing in conch and lobster, of course), cold tropical drinks, and live music.
Restaurants across the street at Lucaya Marketplace range from Domino's Pizza, to Quiznos, to a Greek Diner, to an upscale French restaurant; Overall, the quality and prices are much more reasonable here than they are at the resort.